A young professional’s take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in New York City.

You may recall that last year we discussed new words that made it into the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, like such gems as “jeggings,” “sexting,” and “woot.” We can only hope that 2012 offers us such a rich cultural landscape from which to mine even more vocabulary.

In the meantime, Lake Superior State University has just released its list of words they’d like banished from the general lexicon. I’m sure we all have our own. I mean, how many times have you heard a person unnecessarily say the word “actually” in the last twelve months? Or worse, heard yourself say it? Don’t lie. I’m actually a culprit myself. Har har.

According to the ironically-worded statement from LSSU’s website:

“Worn-out words and phrases are the new normal this year, but with some shared sacrifice, we can clean up the language and win the future,” said an LSSU representative.

LSSU wordsmiths emerged from their man cave long enough to release the new list, something the school has done since 1976.

“With the addition of this year’s nominations, the list of words and phrases banished over the years has become ginormous.”

Silly wordsmiths.

Some highlights:

Amazing. Okay, I’m guilty of overusing this one, too. I suppose the fact that my neighborhood Lenny’s now sells diet ginger ale is not exactly a source of true amazement. Similarly, I guess I can acknowledge that I’m not feeling genuinely amazed when my girlfriend tells me she found a new frozen yogurt place, or when I see a former and long-lost classmate in a neighborhood where we both live and work. Fine. But now what? ‘Fabulous’ is so 2002, and awesome can’t be far behind amazing (or perhaps it’s already been abolished). How about “terrific?” I feel like that word is awfully underused and even a little outdated. Let’s bring it back into vogue so it can be banished in 2013!

Occupy. But . . . but . . . we just got it! And it both tips to a meaningful and memorable cultural/historical event and is extremely easy to use in a joking and nonsensical fashion. Observe: Hey you, cupcake, occupy my belly; I don’t want to go out tonight. Tonight is occupy my couch; occupy bedtime; occupy fat pants; occupy bored now—okay I’m finished. I’m ready to let it go.

Man cave. It’s called a basement, and since when is it such a necessity that a man has an entire playroom to himself? Women don’t have that, and if anyone says “the kitchen,” I will personally find and deck you.

Ginormous. That’s just ridicudumb.

Thank you in advance. For being a passive aggressive jerkwad. I hate when people thank me in advance. I haven’t agreed to do anything yet, and now you’ve painted me into a corner. And what if I say no to whatever it is you’re preemptively thanking me for doing? Are you still grateful? It’s already out there, and I’m not sure you can just rescind a thank you like that when you’ve knowingly given it ahead of receiving your favor. That’s some weak sauce right there.

Actually, “actually” didn’t make the list. Amazing.


Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.

Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.

The Nina Archives:

5 New Year’s Eve ‘Don’ts’ For New Yorkers

Thank Goodness For Good Riddance!

A Trip To Gingerbread Village

Top 5 Internet Memes I Will Never Understand

Top 5 Public Acts Of Self-Destruction By Celebs & Politicians In 2011

Top 5 Animal Escapees Of 2011

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